High Court While Exercising Writ Jurisdiction Cannot Reappreciate Evidence Led During Disciplinary Enquiry, Reiterates Supreme Court

first_imgTop StoriesHigh Court While Exercising Writ Jurisdiction Cannot Reappreciate Evidence Led During Disciplinary Enquiry, Reiterates Supreme Court LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK25 Nov 2020 4:51 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court has observed that while exercising writ jurisdiction with respect to disciplinary proceedings, the High Court must not act as an appellate authority, and reappreciate the evidence led before the enquiry officer.The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph observed thus while restoring an order of compulsory retirement passed against a…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court has observed that while exercising writ jurisdiction with respect to disciplinary proceedings, the High Court must not act as an appellate authority, and reappreciate the evidence led before the enquiry officer.The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph observed thus while restoring an order of compulsory retirement passed against a Sub-Inspector of Railway Protection Force.In this case, the Bombay High Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction had set aside the order of compulsory retirement passed by the statutory authorities against the sub-inspector, and substituted it by an order of re-instatement with all consequential benefits, and 50% back wages. The authority had found that the charges against the employee were proved (Theft of 19 CST-9 plates and 1 1 coach trolley). The punishment of compulsory retirement from service with immediate effect was imposed. In appeal, the Apex Court bench referred to the following judgments with respect to interference by the High Courts with findings in a departmental enquiry against a public servant:  State of Andhra Pradesh v S.Sree Rama Rao, State of Andhra Pradesh v. Chitra Venkata Rao, State of Rajasthan & Ors. v. Heem Singh, Union of India v. P. Gunasekaran, Union of India v. G. Ganayutham ,Director General RPF v. Ch. Sai Babu , Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board v T.T. Murali, Union of India v. Manab Kumar Guha. It noted the following observations made in P. Gunasekaran:”Under Articles 226 / 227 of the Constitution of India, the High Court shall not (i) re-appreciate the evidence; (ii) interfere with the conclusions in the enquiry, in the case the same has been conducted in accordance with law; (iii) go into the adequacy of the evidence; (iv) go into the reliability of the evidence; (v) interfere, if there be some legal evidence on which findings can be based; (vi) correct the error of fact however grave it may appear to be; (vii) go into the proportionality of punishment unless it shocks its conscience”The court noted that, in the instant case, there is no allegation of malafides against the disciplinary authority i.e. Chief Security Commissioner, or lack of competence of the disciplinary authority in passing the order of compulsory retirement, or of a breach of the principles of natural justice, or that the findings were based on no evidence. The High Court was not justified in re-appraising the entire evidence  threadbare as a court of first appeal, and substituting the Order of punishment, by a lesser punishment, without justifiable reason, the court observed. It said:”A police officer in the Railway Protection Force is required to maintain a high standard of integrity in the discharge of his official functions. In this case, the charges proved against the Respondent “were of neglect of duty” which resulted in pecuniary loss to the Railways. The Respondent was a SubInspector in the Railway Police discharging an office of trust and confidence which required absolute integrity. The High Court was therefore not justified in setting aside the order of compulsory retirement, and directing re-instatement with consequential benefits, and payment of backwages to the extent of 50%.”While restoring the order of compulsory retirment, the bench directed the authority to release Gratuity, if due and payable to the former employee from 05.12.2007, within a period of six weeks from today, alongwith interest.CASE: DIRECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, RAILWAY PROTECTION FORCE vs. RAJENDRA KUMAR DUBEY [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3820 OF 2020]CORAM: Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM JosephClick here to Read/Download JudgmentRead JudgmentNext Storylast_img

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